As I look at the calendar this morning, I’m reminded of why I had this whole week blocked off: I was to be a part of a group from Canada and the U. S. building a house in Amman, Jordan, through Habitat for Humanity. The trip was cancelled before we had even heard of COVID-19 and how life, at least in my hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, has been changed for now and perhaps forever. Actually the trip was called off for another reason: a drone strike in Iraq (a country bordering Jordan) killed 10 people including Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian major general. Later, and unrelated to the drone strike, Habitat International called off all builds after WHO declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. So, my trip to Jordan was doomed for many reasons.
It was not until I read Day 3 of lock down, Day 1 of curfew by eswini that I knew the extent of the government-imposed isolation for residents of Amman. And I knew that staying at home in Knoxville with my loved ones close by was preferable to being in a country where I knew very few people.
So, join me in a Virtual Vacation to Jordan by connecting with bloggers who have traveled the world and shared the places they’ve seen through their posts. For a while, I guess, this may be the new normal of traveling internationally. (And thanks to Kirilson Photography for granting permission to use the photo at the top — Camels at Petra — from Happy New Year from Petra & Wadi Rum. )
First Stop: You may be able to understand my feeling of loss over a missed travel opportunity when you see pictures like this one — Monastery at Petra. This lovely photo and other equally stunning ones, can be found in Cathy Birdsong Dutchak’s wander.essence. She has a good mix of tourist site pictures as well as colorful takes of local people, markets, and gathering places. The grandeur of her photos in call to place: jordan in 2011 definitely make this post a good first visit on your virtual tour.
Next, sift through the superb photos in the Jordan gallery by Tina R. Schell, author of Travels and Trifles: Exposing Thought Through Photography and host of Lens-Artists Challenges one week a month. Tina’s images of Petra and Wadi Rum exalt the beauty of the natural and built environments. One of my favorites: a magnificent view of a cart passing through the siq.
If you’re a real tourist in Petra, you get a reward for your trek through the gorge: a glimpse of The Treasury of Petra. Self-taught photographer Marcus Puschmann (Streets of Nuremberg) captured this dramatic glimpse and posted it in wide format on Jordan explored — Petra. Even a virtual traveler can tell that that one peep can heighten the drama of seeing this UNESCO World Heritage Site as you move toward a full-blown view of this unbelievable creation.
Puschmann also gives us one of the best night-time photos of The Treasury in Jordan explored — Petra by Night. When you see this grand photo, you may be more than willing to pay extra to be there at nightfall.
For more of Puschmann’s Jordan, head over to Streets of Nuremberg: Jordan explored — Kerak Castle. You’ll find much to love about his photography (and Kerak, too), especially this black and white of the stable for the Knight’s Horses. This photo reveals how Puschmann pulls viewers into his scenes with his ability to capture depth of field and limitless space.
Away from the tourist sites and monuments, I look for markets and food and sellers that cater to locals. Evidently, Amman has more than enough from which buyers can choose, unless, of course, the new coronavirus curfew has cut off even these necessities of life. Paul of Notes from Camelid Country offers bands of colorful produce in this photo from 24 hours in Amman.
And Notes from Camelid Country also shares unique street food that looks too good to resist — all in Jordan’s capital city.
For a colorful post, check out this one filled with interesting wares. James and Terri of Gallivance: Travel Tales with a Twist found lots to admire in Amman’s main shopping district, Al-Husseiny Mosque. In Amman: Jordan’s Lively Heart, they explained: “We started in the souk where you can buy just about anything you need, from clothing to gold to tonight’s dessert!”
Well, heads with scarves staring straight at me certainly grabbed my attention!
If you’re one to favor an agenda to maximize your time, check out Sending Postcards Home by Nandita and Raga, two Indians currently living in Dublin but traveling the world together. Just published in February 2020, this Travel Blog series on Jordan and the Middle East will have you wishing you were there for a while to match their tour.
- 1 week itinerary for Jordan
- Exploring the lost city of Petra
- Martian landscape of Wadi Rum
- Floating in the Dead Sea
And if you ask me, this post just may be the most fun (and the most laid back) shot of Jordan in all this Virtual Vacation tour!
Strong color and larger-than-life portraits almost jump off the screen in The surprising Street Art of Amman on Notes from Camelid Country: A travel blog from Bolivia to Berlin. I’ve recently come to appreciate the talents of street artists in American cities, but now I’m looking forward to touring Europe and Asia where it seems there’s even more street art to see. Bigger may be better, too: This piece near Paris Square in Amman, measures 30 meters high.
Finally, if you have a little time on your hands and would be interested in a virtual tour of Petra, this YouTube video, Petra 4K/ Jordania #8 , takes you step by step through the siq to the sites you want to see.
Thanks for joining Oh, the Places We See in our first-ever Virtual Vacation. Just as you are, I’m hoping for an end — soon, of course — to the coronavirus and all of our school and business closings, self-quarantines, and social distancing. My heart goes out to those who are victims of this global pandemic, and my thanks go to the medical professionals and good neighbors working to make life better for all.
Thanks to the following writers and photographers contributing to this tour:
- Gallivance: Travel Tales with a Twist
- Kirilson Photography
- Notes from Camelid Country
- Sending Postcards Home
- Streets of Nuremberg
- Travels and Trifles: Expressing Thought Through Photography
Stay healthy and safe,